World Vision Emergencies
Press Release • Thursday, January 29th 2015

Release of former child soldiers in South Sudan is just the beginning

Share Tweet
  • Long road to recovery as children are rehabilitated, reunited and reintegrated
  • Children in South Sudan live in fear, can’t access school, are away from home, recent report finds

28 JANUARY – Former child soldiers, like the 3,000 to be released in South Sudan have a long way to go in their recovery, and supporting them at every stage will be vital.

“The lifelong consequences for children forced, one way or another, into armed groups cannot be understated,” said James East, World Vision International’s Emergency Communications Director.

“The lifelong consequences for children forced, one way or another, into armed groups cannot be understated.” 

“These children will have missed out on crucial elements of childhood, and been exposed to the kind of abuse and violence no children should ever experience.”

“We must listen to these children because they can provide solution to the issues. They are the best advocates for the change needed in their countries.”

More time and resources, from governments, leaders and organisations, need to be spent on prevention – ensuring children aren’t forced into armed groups in the first place, said East.

“Children should never be forced to see joining armed groups as an option.

But sadly, inequality, poverty, a lack of governance and child protection systems, all contribute to forcing children in this direction. All of these exist in South Sudan, to disturbing degrees.”

A World Vision report released last month, Fear and Want, highlighted the issues facing children across South Sudan.

“These children live in fear. They want a normal life and for the sake of the country’s future, we must make this a priority.”

“These children live in fear. They want a normal life and for the sake of the country’s future, we must make this a priority.”

“We continue to ask the Government of South Sudan and the international community to prioritise the needs of children while working towards an end to the conflict.”

The five things children affected by armed conflict need most:

  1. Safety
  2. The basics – water, food, shelter, sanitation, health
  3. Space to be heard
  4. Education
  5. Jobs and skills training 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • World Vision works with rehabilitated child soldiers in a number of countries including Uganda and Myanmar, but will not be working directly with the released child soldiers in South Sudan.
  • For interviews with James East, or former child soldiers, please contact World Vision.
  • Copies of Fear and Want available at http://www.wvi.org/south-sudan/publication/fear-and-want-children-living-crisis-south-sudan
  • World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.